Sick Passenger Hallucinates Bomb On Board, United Airlines And Law Enforcement Scramble

Sunday evening’s United Airlines flight UA2304 from Los Angeles to Newark saw a significant police response on the tarmac, with luggage inspected and passengers eventually bused to the terminal, after a customer with a medical emergency apparently said there was a bomb on board while hallucinating.

According to a United Airlines spokesperson, “During the medical emergency onboard, the passenger made a remark which created a potential security concern.” The plane landed about 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. Officers boarded the aircraft. Police dogs sniffed luggage. It all went something like this:

Police believe the woman “was high on marijuana chewables and Adderall.” She was ultimately hospitalized.

The Lakewood Scoop has video and audio from the incident.

If everyone was going to treat the hallucination as real, why couldn’t the passenger have had a vision of good service – or better yet that 2020 was over?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Stupidity and or maliciousness on the part of police as always. It’s one thing if a threat is received by phone, online, or mail; although, 99.9% of real operatives aren’t going to telegraph their intentions, and it is likely a hoax designed to disrupt service. If a woman who is obviously ill from alcohol, or medication says something like this, the cabin crew and pilots need to use their judgement and discretion in handling this. It’s obvious there is no threat.

  2. “It’s obvious there is no threat.”

    Based on what, the information in this story, after the fact, after the medical evaluation?

    I suspect if you were with the airline or law enforcement, directly involved in the incident in real time, and had a responsibility for a safe outcome, you wouldn’t be quite so caviler about it.

  3. There’s probably some rule that removes any judgement from the FAs or pilot, and requires everyone to scramble (literally) once the magic word has been spoken.

    Much like the Boston Mooninite panic, when police treated lite-brite boards with cartoon characters on them as “potential bombs” because they had “all” of the characteristics of a bomb according to their procedures manual, including an “”identifiable power source, a circuit board with exposed wiring, and electrical tape” … in addition to lite-up characters from Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

  4. Once mentioned the magic word on an airplane while I was half asleep, almost defecated pavement blocks, looked around and saw only a little older lady had heard, I muttered “Oh yeah probably shouldn’t say that on an airplane”, she sort of laughed and I sat down thankful not to be waterboarding at the bay.

  5. Jackson Henderson,…

    With all due respect,…it’s a good thing that you’re not in a position to make these decisions!
    “Damned if they do”….
    “Damned if they don’t”…

  6. People seem to think its funny to say that word in airport or on a plane. They fail to care that the consequences of that utterance will impact thousands of lives…hopefully including theirs! Until we start making the consequences of their decision jail time and paying the bill for the expenses incurred (not to be discharged in bankruptcy) they will continue to be cavalier & careless with the lives of others.

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